I grew up watching and enjoying professional wrestling, which was pretty much impossible to avoid if you were an American boy born after 1970. You knew it was fake, and you didn’t care. It was a kind of theatre, a live-action comic book and soap opera rolled into one, played by seemingly indestructible people who might not have been locked in real combat, but they sure did look like they were beating the daylights out of each other.
This is the subject of an incredible documentary on pro wrestling entitled Beyond the Mat, which even if you have no real interest in wrestling, is worth a watch. (You can get it through Netflix or you can start watching it here.) The upshot of the documentary is that pro wrestling is largely populated by people who aren’t always that bright, have a very high pain threshold and either an appetite for self-destruction, or the kind of obliviousness that doesn’t recognize when one is in serious trouble. A wrestler who was not featured in Beyond the Mat, but probably should have been, was “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, aka Richard Fliehr.
An article published back in August by Shane Ryan on Grantland about Fliehr’s neverending legal and financial problems provides for some fairly compelling, if dark, reading. It is with no small amount of irony that Flair attended the 2008 premiere of Mickey Rourke’s “The Wrestler,” a grim chronicle of one man’s inability to pin his own demons, since the fictional story of that movie could have just as easily been the life of any other major pro wrestler, especially Fliehr.
While a lot of wrestlers succumb to a variety of weaknesses, including drugs, liquor, women and an addiction to fame, financial mismanagement is also a common foil. It certainly has been for Fliehr, whose profligate spending and mountainous debts boggle the mind. What makes his story particularly interesting to me, however, is how a financial advisor by the name of Scott Storick factored into things. As soon as I read the name, it seemed familiar to me. Indeed, it was, as I had read it in a news release earlier this year, when a MetLife rep by the same name was inducted into the MetLife Hall of Fame.
There are two very different Scott Storicks in the public eye. One has had quite a successful career. He is a Million Dollar Round Table lifetime member, and in addition to being inducted into the MetLife Hall of Fame, has earned a place for himself numerous times on both the MetLife Chairman’s Council and Presidents Conference. This does not look like the profile of a huckster.
The other, as described in Ryan’s article, fleeced Ric Fliehr mercilessly by selling him a procession of unsuitable financial products and churning life policies on him. So, which is it?